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UK IPv6 body wound up over government 'indifference'

6UK said the UK lags behind its neighbours, economies of similar size, G20 and EU member states

The body set up to encourage companies to move towards IPv6 network adoption has been shut down in protest at UK government "indifference" to its work.

6UK was set up in 2010 with £20,000 of government seed funding to advise ISPs and firms about the move from IPv4 to IPv6. It was run by unpaid volunteers who have now shut the organisation down.

The 6UK board said:"The board has determined that the organisation cannot fulfil its purpose and therefore the directors, all volunteers, resigned at today's AGM without seeking re-election.

"In the absence of nominations to the board, 6UK is to be wound up in accordance with its articles of association."

6UK said the UK lags behind its neighbours, economies of similar size, G20 and EU member states when it comes to the uptake of IPv6, which is designed to solve the global problem of a lack of new internet addresses currently available to companies and ISPs.

6UK stated: "Many factors impact the uptake of IPv6 and clearly free-market incentives are insufficient. Yet at a country level, delayed adoption significantly impacts national competitiveness, innovation and skills. It may also hobble UK based companies' ability to compete internationally.

"One factor appears to dominate IPv6 adoption rates, namely government support. Countries with hands-off governments fall behind," it slammed.

Philip Sheldrake, a former director of 6UK, told the BBC that government support had been "scant". For instance, he said, unlike in the US, UK government procurement rules had not been changed to mandate use of the new protocol "which would have had a significant effect on adoption".

No UK government website sits on an IPv6 address Sheldrake pointed out. "There's no material incentive for any organisation to go for IPv6," Sheldrake said.

Europe effectively ran out of new allocated IPv4 addresses in September 2012, and many organisations are getting by with the ones they have already stockpiled.

A government spokeswoman told the BBC, "We will continue to explore with industry and other partners the need for IPv6 and relevant ways in which we may be able to assist."

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